Brantley volunteer firefighters aid with community storm cleanup

Published 12:54 am Thursday, January 26, 2023

Brantley Volunteer firefighters mobilized after an EF-1 tornado touched down on Jan. 12, helping clear roadways and assist residents after the storm.

Tornados from the same storm system ravaged Selma that day and while Brantley residents escaped injury, the area sustained damage to structures and downed trees.

“We helped clean off our roadways,” said Brantley Volunteer Fire Chief Keith Morgan. “During the storm, some trees came down on 331 and Rose Hill Road. We cleaned them out as well as some on dirt roads.”

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According to Morgan, the department of volunteers is trained in safely removing trees and other debris. The department helps often in this way, and responds to more road clearance calls than house fires, he explained.

“We have more limb and tree calls than we do fire calls,” Morgan said. “Every time there is a motor vehicle accident, we go to it. And every time there is a limb or tree on Brantley roads, we go saw it out of the way. If something falls on a house, we try to get it and be of assistance in whatever fashion we can.”

On Monday following the Jan. 12 storm, the department assisted the Bullock Volunteer Fire Department to remove trees that fell on Sassers Mill Assembly of God.

“We had to make a plan for that removal because it was such a big job,” Morgan said. “We came back the following Monday after putting together a plan for safety.”

Tree and limb removal is always free, Morgan said, and the small Sassers Mill congregation, who did not have funds to pay for tree removal, appreciated the assistance of their neighbors.

“It was a tremendous blessing to the church because we were not financially able to hire someone to come remove the trees,” said Pastor Bobby Powell. “And for both fire departments to come, it was a great blessing to the church. We deeply appreciate it.”

According to Powell, fire department volunteers were already working in the area when they discovered trees down on the church and offered to help.

“It’s my understanding they were cleaning up debris that had fallen in the road after the storm,” Powell said. “They went by the church and saw the trees on the church.”

Morgan said he and others who volunteer with the department do it for the well-being of the community.

“I love to help others and keep our community safe,” Morgan said. “Me and the others in the department feel the best way to help keep our community safe is to be part of the fire department. We all train to go and help each other and we assist other departments. We work as a team to try to be the best we can for our community.”

Powell said the Sassers Mill congregation, still reeling from the theft of a heating and air conditioning unit from the church in December, has received estimates for repair but does not yet have funding to meet the need. 

Residents willing to help with repairs can make donations at Brantley Bank and Trust, making checks out to Sassers Mill Assembly of God.